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Osho on Mahatma Gandhi Life and Philosophy

Osho - You cannot fail me for the simple reason that I have never expected anything from you. All these messiahs have been expecting things from you: you have to do this, and you have not to do that. Once you go against their idea of how you should be, you have failed. And you are going to fail them out of sheer necessity, because you cannot fulfill somebody else's idea.

You have a being of your own which needs fulfillment. You have no responsibility towards me, to fulfill my idea. My idea I have fulfilled. Now it is your idea, your being, your essence that has to be fulfilled. Nobody else can give you the discipline. But down the ages people have ruled people in a thousand and one ways. They will rule you through money, they will rule you through power politics, they will rule you through knowledgeability. They will rule you by becoming a certain image that the society respects.

Osho on Gandhi Mahatma

For example, I would like to say something about Mahatma Gandhi
. It was an everyday affair in his ashram that some disciple failed him, because what he was asking of those poor people was so unnatural, so devoid of any reason and sense, that unless they were absolute idiots they were going to fail him. That was the only way to save themselves, otherwise they would be destroyed by him. In Mahatma Gandhi's ashram you could not drink tea. That was enough to fail him. Now, tea is such an innocent thing. Buddhist monks have used it for thousands of years as a help to meditation because it keeps you alert, awake. When you are feeling sleepy, just a cup of tea brings you a little awareness.

The story is that Bodhidharma was determined to remain awake for twenty-four hours. But the body is the body, the eyelids get tired, and when they get tired the eyes close. He became so angry that he cut off his eyelids and threw them in the grass. Then his eyes could not be closed. It is a symbolic story. It did not happen, it cannot happen -- because I know Bodhidharma perfectly well.... He is the last person to do such a thing. But the story is significant, although it is just a story: those eyelids grew into a plant that became the tea plant. And because those were the eyelids of a man like Bodhidharma, the tea still carries the quality of awareness. That is the significance of the story.

In every Buddhist monastery, the first thing is the tea. But in Gandhi's ashram, if somebody was caught drinking tea it was a great sin: he has failed the master. And the master was a sado-masochist. All disciplinarians, whether they are mahatmas, sages, rabbis, saints, principals, teachers, headmasters -- all disciplinarians are, deep down, dictatorial.

Discipline is a beautiful name for an ugly thing: dictatorship. But you cannot revolt against a disciplinarian. You can revolt against a dictator. You can revolt against Stalin, you can revolt against Mussolini, but you cannot revolt against Mahatma Gandhi, and there is the danger.

Why can't you revolt against Mahatma Gandhi? -- because before he disciplines you, he tortures himself. He is a sado-masochist. Before he tortures you, he tortures himself more than he is asking you to. You cannot revolt. This man is not simply torturing you like Joseph Stalin. He has tortured himself, he has disciplined himself, far deeper than he is asking you. How can you revolt against him? You cannot find any excuse.

Gandhi had one ashram in South Africa, in the beginning of his career of mahatmahood. The ashram was called the Phoenix Ashram. There, he tortured his wife and his children so immensely that I wonder why nobody bothers and nobody thinks about it. And people like Richard Attenborough make films on Gandhi, and all that is essential, all that should be brought to the eyes of the people, is completely left out. Perhaps these people like Attenborough are blind completely -- blinded by his mahatmahood.

What was he doing to his wife? First, she had to clean the toilet... and you don't know the Indian toilet. Don't compare it with the Western toilet. The Western toilet can be cleaned, there is no problem. There is nothing to clean, it is already clean. But the Indian toilet is really dirty. And Kasturba, Gandhi's wife, could not say no either, because Gandhi himself was cleaning. When the husband is cleaning... she knew that he was a mahatma. She knew that it was a dirty job and she did not feel like cleaning other people's dirt and carrying it out from the outhouse, way back, and throwing all the shit into a ditch -- because Gandhi had this idea that the shit should not be misused. Everything had to be used.

He was really a miser. There is no question about why he suffered from constipation -- his whole life he was carrying the enema with him everywhere -- it was his psychology. The shit had to be collected and thrown into a ditch behind the house, and then mud had to be thrown over it, so it becomes manure for the next year's crops.

Now, for Kasturba it was so difficult. And the way it has to be carried in India, you cannot believe. But in India, they have reduced one fourth of the country to such a state that they are not allowed to do any other work. So only this work is available, they have to do it. They are born to do it; that is their destiny. So they collect the shit in buckets, and carry it on their heads for miles. In India, Kasturba had never thought that she would have to do this, because she belonged to a higher caste; she was not a sudra, an untouchable.

But Gandhi was carrying it himself, and he was the mahatma. And when he carries it he gets a subtle right over you. You have to understand the subtle power politics in such small things. Because he gets up at three o'clock in the morning, everybody has to get up at three o'clock in the morning. And when the old man is getting up at three o'clock: you are young, you will feel guilty if you don't get up. And if you are caught, then you have failed the master. And what is the master going to do? He will not punish you, he will punish himself -- because he had this egoistic idea that if he is truly pure then nothing can go wrong around him, then everything is going to be right. If anything goes wrong, that simply means something is impure in him, so he has to purify himself by fasting.

So if you fail him, he will torture himself. That will create even more of a burden on you. First: guilt that you failed him. Second: guilt that now he is suffering because of your stupidity -- you could have awakened at three o'clock, it was not such a big deal. And now for a few days, nobody knows... because he would always start a "fast unto death." Although he never fasted unto death he would always start a fast unto death.

Then Gandhi had to be persuaded; then all the leaders of the country had to run to his ashram and say to him, "Just for one man's failure you cannot punish the whole country." Then after two or three days he would be ready to take food, and that one man would be condemned by the whole country. He had been punished more than you could have imagined. Wherever he went, people would talk about him: "This is the man for whom Gandhi is fasting unto death." And if Gandhi died, they would have killed this man, they would not have left this man alive.

One night Gandhi threw Kasturba, who was pregnant, out of the house because she was reluctant to clean the latrine. A pregnant woman, a woman who does not know any other language, in a foreign country, absolutely dependent on him -- he closed the door, threw her out, and said, "If you don't clean the latrine, then this is not your house, then you don't belong to me. If you cannot follow my discipline, if my own wife fails me, then who else is going to listen to me? In the cold winter Kasturba wept outside and finally decided that she should agree to clean the latrine. Only when she agreed to clean the latrine was she allowed in. Now, you can fail such a man very easily by anything, just by smoking a cigarette, drinking a cup of tea... anything.

He did not allow his children to be educated. He didn't send them to school. They wanted to go, their mother wanted it also. Naturally she wanted them to be educated, "otherwise who is going to feed them? And their whole life is ahead of them. You are educated, you are a barrister, you earn. And you are a mahatma -- even if you don't earn, you have thousands of worshippers. But your children -- don't you send them even to the primary school?"

He was against the education that is available in the schools, colleges and the universities. Why? -- because it creates doubt, it destroys people's faith; because it teaches people science and technology, which he was against: against things so simple and so essential that you will not be able to believe it -- that in the twentieth century a man can be against the telephone!

Now, the telephone does not do any harm to anybody. One can be against nuclear weapons, I can understand -- but the telephone?... railway lines?... trains?... airplanes? He was against anything except the spinning wheel -- that was the only technology that he accepted. Beyond that, all technology was evil, all science was evil; so why send your children to learn the devilish ways of science, technology, logic, philosophy, and destroy their faith, their belief in God? No. He would not send them.

His eldest son, Haridas, escaped. Seeing the situation -- "This man is going to destroy our lives completely" -- he escaped, reached a relative's family and told the whole story, what was happening, and that "I want to go to school." Just see the situation: the boy has to escape from the home to get into school. Boys escape from school, not to go there... and Haridas had to leave his home and ask some uncle, some faraway relative, "Please help me. At least I would like to be a matriculate; then I will see later on. But up to matriculation, that much education is absolutely necessary."

Gandhi was very angry. The prophet of nonviolence was angry, violently angry. What he said was, "Now this home is closed for Haridas. He should not be allowed in and nobody from my family should meet with him. Even his mother, his brothers, his sisters -- nobody should see him and meet him. If anybody meets with him, he also goes with him. He has failed me." You impose such stupid ideas.... Now, what Haridas was doing was perfectly right. This man had to be disobeyed. The other children did not escape; they were weaklings. Haridas had some guts. And he showed later on that he did have some guts.

Gandhi used to say, "All religions are one." That was also a political gimmick: "All religions are one -- Hindu, Mohammedan, Christian, Jaina, Buddhist, Sikh... all religions are one." But the basic politics was to capture all these people and their votes, and to keep the whole of India undivided, so that Gandhi's party ruled over the whole of India, not only a part of India.

In his prayer meetings every morning the Koran was recited, The Bible was read, and other holy books were also included. Just a few pieces read from The Bible, a few pieces read from the Torah, a few pieces read from the Koran.... And there too was great cunningness, because I have looked into those pieces that were read: they were the pieces which were synonymous with the Gita. Only those pieces were chosen from The Bible that were synonymous with Krishna, because Gandhi used to call the Gita his mother. He never called the Koran "my father" or The Bible "my uncle" at least... only the Gita his mother. And all these fragments that he had chosen were deceptive. They were simply translations, as if they were the same message so there was no problem. All that was against the Gita -- or different from the Gita, not even against it -- was not chosen.

So he was deceiving Mohammedans, he was deceiving Christians, he was deceiving Jainas, he was deceiving Buddhists, he was deceiving Sikhs, everybody. And they all thought that this man is a super-sage -- that is the meaning of mahatma: the great soul. As if souls are also small or great! Souls are simply souls, neither small nor great. But the great soul, mahatma, because he was so liberal, unprejudiced... and he was full of prejudice.

Haridas knew it. So what he did was, he converted himself to Mohammedanism. He did well. I appreciate him. The doors of the home were closed. Gandhi had abandoned him, declared, "He is no longer my son. I am no longer his father. He has utterly failed me. If he had died it would have been better." And what sin had he committed? He had gone to school! But he was really an intelligent boy. As he left the school, he turned to Mohammedanism. And Mohammedans rejoiced. They enjoyed the idea that Gandhi's eldest son found shelter in Mohammedanism. They started calling him "Mahatma Abdullah Gandhi."

They kept 'Mahatma' and 'Gandhi' so people remembered who he was, and changed 'Haridas' into 'Abdullah' -- which means literally 'Haridas'. abd'allah -- servant of God, and that is exactly the meaning of haridas: servant of God. It is the Arabic translation of Haridas, so it was exactly the same.

But Gandhi was so shocked! You can imagine, if just his son's going to school was enough for Gandhi to abandon him as a son, now he has become a Mohammedan! Gandhi wept. Now, this is the man who says all the religions are the same. So what is the difference? Whether he is Hindu or Mohammedan -- what difference does it make? And even his name was nothing but an Arabic translation of the Sanskrit name -- an exact translation.

Just by coincidence, there was a meeting in Bombay. Just by coincidence, Gandhi was going into the same train from which Haridas was getting out. Kasturba, after all, was a mother; she wanted at least to have a look at her son. She knew that her husband wouldn't allow them to talk, but Gandhi didn't allow her even to see him. He said, "Remember, don't look at him. He is dead for us. He has slapped me on my face by becoming a Mohammedan." He forgot all that synthesis of all the religions... and still the prayer continued the same way every day.

You can fail this type of people very easily. You cannot fail me, it is impossible. There is no way to fail me; because I don't impose any discipline on you, how can you fail me? I don't give you any doctrine against which you can go. How can you go against me? All that I go on saying to you is: be authentically yourself. Now, the only way to fail me is not to be yourself.

Source - Osho Book "From Unconsciousness to Consciousness"

Related Osho Discourses:
Osho - Why is India so Poor?
Osho on Indian First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Osho on Indian First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru Death
Osho on Gandhi Life and Philosophy - Gandhi was a businessman
Osho - Why do Indians think they are more Spiritual than others?
Osho on Mahatma Gandhi and Rules in the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram
Osho on Mahatma Gandhi Death, Jawaharlal Nehru Speech and His Love for Gandhi

Osho on famous people: Annie Besant, Alan Watts, Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler, Confucius, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Santayana, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Machiavelli, Madame Blavatsky, Marilyn Monroe, Martin Buber, Mother Teresa, Nijinsky, Shakuntala Devi, Somerset Maugham, Soren Kierkegaard, Subhash Chandra Bose, Vincent van Gogh, Vinoba Bhave

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